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The 127th Meeting of the Tennessee Academy of Science

The 2017 TAS meeting will be held Friday, November 17, 2017 at the University of Tennessee in Martin, TN.

Fieldtrip to Reelfoot Lake! - Saturday, November 18, 2017

The geological origin of most lakes is rarely a primary attracting factor to tourists, but the 1811-12 earthquake origin of Reelfoot is related to much larger scale and longer term tectonic processes that also puts the region in one of the potentially most hazardous natural disaster situations, namely devastation from large earthquakes in the future. A brief look at the lake on any map will reveal that it is not the typical rounded shape of many lakes or the dendritic shape of lakes dammed along streams and storing water upstream in tributaries. Reelfoot Lake is a floodplain lake with an outline that clearly exhibits its Mississippi River meander origins. The shape of the lake even influences the distribution of organisms and results in ecological subsystems within the lake. Consequently, Reelfoot Lake has long attracted biologists as an ideal field laboratory, both for the practical reasons of helping to manage the lake itself and as a natural ecosystem with implications to other lakes in other regions. Even the surrounding landscape, with its river floodplain features and glacial bluff sediments and topography, fossil record, and variability of geologic materials, all of which influence the lake, has attracted study. Visitors to the lake are struck by the diversity of animal and plant life, especially the eagles, turtles, fish, and abundant Cyprus trees. The lake is a well-known stop-over for many migrating birds and has historically been a gathering spot for hunters and fisherman. It is clear that the ecology of Reelfoot Lake is intimately interwoven with its geologic history in a way that is active today, rather than a historical artifact. There are two different itineraries for the field trip, A Scientist's View of Reelfoot Lake Overview and Canoeing Reelfoot's Bayou di Chien Overview. More information is provided below.

A Scientist’s View of Reelfoot Lake Overview

This field trip is designed as an introduction to Reelfoot Lake’s natural characteristics, history, ecology, and especially potential for natural disasters in the form of earthquakes and flooding. The geological origin of most lakes is rarely a primary attracting factor to tourists, but the 1811-12 earthquake origin of Reelfoot is related to much larger scale and longer term tectonic processes that also puts the region in one of the potentially most hazardous natural disaster situations, namely devastation from large earthquakes in the future. A brief look at the lake on any map will reveal that it is not the typical rounded shape of many lakes or the dendritic shape of lakes dammed along streams and storing water upstream in tributaries. Reelfoot Lake is a floodplain lake with an outline that clearly exhibits its Mississippi River meander origins. The surrounding landscape, with its river floodplain features and glacial bluff sediments and topography, fossil record, and variability of geologic materials, all of which influence the lake, has attracted study. Total time is about 5 hours with a one hour lunch break.
Maximum number of participants: 30 Registration

Canoeing Reelfoot’s Bayou du Chien Overview

Join us on a leisurely paddle along Bayou du Chien, one of Reelfoot Lake’s few natural tributaries. The bayou winds through bottomland forest and cypress stands characteristic of Reelfoot Lake and feeds into the southern end of Upper Blue Basin. Most of the trip is along the bayou, where Great Blue Herons, Barred Owls, Mink, and Muskrats are commonly seen. The last part of the trip takes you into the open-water along the edge of Upper Blue Basin, offering a great view of the lake and opportunities for seeing migrating waterfowl, Bald Eagles, and White Pelicans. The trip will end near the observation tower on the Grassy Island Unit of the Reelfoot National Wildlife Refuge. Total paddling time is about 2 hours.
Maximum number of participants: 28 Registration

The Tennessee Academy of Science

The Tennessee Academy of Science seeks to promote scientific research and the diffusion of knowledge concerning science; to secure communication between persons engaged in scientific work, especially in Tennessee; to assist by investigation and discussion in developing and making known the material, educational, and other resource and riches of the state; to arrange and prepare for publication such reports of investigations and discussions as they further the aims and objectives of the Academy.

The Tennessee Academy of Science, as an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, endorse the position statement of the AAAS concerning research and teaching of the scientific theory of evolution.

Here is a group photograph taken by Andrea Hallgren at the Centennial Meeting in 2012.

This is a photograph that Andrea Hallgren took of the past and present TAS Presidents that attended the Centennial meeting.


Tennessee Academy of Science Statement on The Teaching of Evolution

The Tennessee Academy of Science, as an affiliate of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, endorses the position statement of the AAAS concerning research and teaching of the scientific theory of evolution. Furthermore, TAS emphasizes that the theory of evolution is a fundamental concept of science, and thus must also be a cornerstone of science education. Evolution in the broadest sense refers to any change over time. The study of Earth's evolution provides society with the necessary perspective to understand Earth's physical and biological development. Evolutionary studies also provide insight concerning the natural processes active on Earth and help to shape our view of Earth's future.

Evolutionary studies and evolutionary education apply to all branches of science, including organic evolution, cosmic evolution, geologic evolution, planetary evolution, cultural evolution, and others. The scientific evidence for evolution is pervasive. Geologic studies show Earth has changed dramatically over time, with continents assuming new positions and geographies. Paleontological studies document that life forms on Earth have changed, with new species arising and others becoming extinct. Astronomers have documented that galaxies, stars and planets have changed over time. Biologists and anthropologists have documented that human biology and culture have changed. The ubiquity of such explanations indicates that evolution has become a vital component of modern science. The National Science Education Standards, Benchmarks for Science Literacy from AAAS's Project 2061, numerous national education policy documents, and Tennessee's published science education framework all recognize evolution's role as a unifying concept for science disciplines that provides students, including future scientists, with the foundation to help them understand the natural world. For these reasons, TAS endorses the teaching of the scientific theory of evolution. TAS also stresses that teachers should be free from the distraction of non-scientific or anti-scientific influence. TAS thus concludes that non-naturalistic or supernatural explanations, often guised as "creation science," "scientific creationism," or "intelligent design theory," are not scientific in nature, do not conform to the scientific usage of "theory," and should not be included in Tennessee's science curricula.